Inside a New York City I.C.U. Battling Coronavirus | NYT News

The Brooklyn Hospital Center is on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic.

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A lot of times,
doctors and nursesalmost feel invulnerable,
but it’s hard for themto see their colleagues being
admitted to the hospitaland not have that sense of
invulnerability shattered.I’m Sheri Fink.I’m a correspondent
at The New York Times.Many years ago, I went
to medical school.Victor Blue, a photographer,
and I spent some timeat Brooklyn Hospital.“So what is he on, drug-wise?”This hospital,
just within the last week,had almost doubled the
capacity to treat patientsin the intensive care unit.“The opportunity for beds
here are pretty significant.”The staff members from
all over the hospitalwere helping out,
so there werenurses from the
cardiac catheterization lab.There were podiatry
physicians.There was a neurosurgery
physician assistanthelping out.I think what really
stood out to mewas the toll on the medical
providers and the factthat so many of the
staff members are sick.One of the hospital’s employeeswas admitted to the intensive
care unit while I was there.“And we do that for
our nurses, one,because they actually
go through the most P.P.E.,because they have so many
tasks they have to do.”Dr. Josh Rosenberg — he’s an
intensive care unit doctor.I feel like he was bouncing
on his toes the whole time.“Easier and I waste less P.P.E.And that way I’m in and
all the rooms are done.”And then I found out that
he himself had been outand this was his
first day back.It just highlights
how brave the people arefor showing up every day
and doing their work.“The blood gas looks
pretty darn skippy.”In one case, a patient,
their cardiac status —the ability of the heart
to pump blood everywherethat it’s needed — was starting
to have some problems.So, in this case,
they were startingwhat’s called a central line.And that way, they could
administer certain drugsthat could help the heart.And, of course, any time that
you’re close to a patientand performing a procedure,it can be a risk for the
health care providers.But it’s not all
doom and gloom.The doctors, the nurses,
the staff members —they’re trying not to let it
get them down,trying to focus
on the task at hand.Obviously, this is
super difficult.And when they go home
at night, a lot of themdescribe just grappling
with everything that they’reseeing and experiencing.But in the moment, they’re
keeping each other’s spirits up.They’re going about the work.“Yeah, I’ll take
care of that one.”When I would ask the
health professionalswho I was speaking
with at the hospitalwhether they had
anything else to say,whether they had a message
for the larger public,their message has been:
Stay home, protect yourself,reduce your risk, follow
the recommendationsso that you minimize the
chance that you will get sick.And that helps them be able
to take care of peoplewho really need that help.

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